With the rise and popularity of sports betting in Australia, the issue of responsible and problem gambling has become a hot topic. But what is the difference between a responsible gambler and a problem gambler?
What Is Responsible Gambling?
A responsible gambler can be described as someone who gambles for fun and entertainment but at the same time understands the risks associated with gambling. In this way they are able to display control over their gambling behaviour and keep it in balance with other activities in their life, not allowing their gambling to cause themselves or others harm.
Responsible gambling doesn't stop with the individual. It also calls on those involved within the gaming industry, such as here at bettingexpert, to provide information and resources to help raise awareness and inform gamblers of the risks associated with gambling, how to recognise when their gambling is becoming a problem and how to seek help.
What Is Problem Gambling?
Someone is considered to be a problem gambler if they are having difficulty limiting both the amount of money and time they are dedicating to gambling with this behaviour then having an adverse impact on their personal and professional lives. Many gamblers are able to recognise the negative impact their gambling is having on their lives and are able to take the steps required to get their gambling under control or to cease gambling all together.
Unfortunately, many are not.
In this manner, a problem gambler can be defined as someone who has difficulty limiting their gambling activity despite the adverse impact it is having on their life.
Are You Gambling Too Much?
Do you feel that your gambling may be having a negative impact on your life? Are you finding yourself struggling with increasing debt? Difficulties in paying bills? Are you making a priority of your gambling which is leading to you missing work or family commitments? Do you engage in distorted thinking, believing that your gambling will solve your financial problems and that you're due a big win? If so, you may have a gambling problem.
But you're not alone. It is estimated that one percent of the Australian population has a gambling problem to some degree, with many high profile footballers recently disclosing details for their own battles with problem gambling.
Assessing Your Gambling Behaviour
If you are concerned that your gambling is getting out of hand, is causing you issues in both your personal and professional life, and you are having difficulty keeping your gambling under control, we strongly encourage you to take the Risk Assessment test provided by Gambling Help Online.
You will be presented a series of nine questions and be asked to assess your gambling behaviour. If you are serious about getting help, it is of the utmost importance that you answer these questions as honestly as possible. It may even be a good idea to take the Risk Assessment test with a family member or friend.
The questions presented ask you to consider your gambling behaviour over the previous 12 months and rate them under four categories, Not at all, Rarely, Sometimes, Often:
- Have you bet more than you could really afford to lose?
- Have you needed to bet with larger amounts to get the same feeling of excitement?
- When you did gamble, did you need to go back another day and try and win back the money you had lost?
- Have you borrowed money or sold anything to get the money to gamble?
- Have you felt you might have a problem with gambling?
- Has gambling caused you any health problems, including stress or anxiety?
- Have people criticised your betting or told you that you had a gambling problem, regardless of whether or not you thought it was true?
- Has you gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household?
- Have you felt guilty about the way you gamble or what happens when you gamble?
Once your gambling activity has been assessed, you will be provided with a range of tools and support services available to assist you.
Are You Gambling More Than You Can Afford To Lose?
Also use the Gambling Help Online Gambling Calculator to work out exactly how much you are spending on gambling.
It's a great tool that spells out in very plain terms just how much you are spending on gambling in both money and time. You may be spending more than you think.
Does Someone You Know Have A Gambling Problem?
Are you concerned that someone you know has a gambling problem? Discussing your concerns with someone you believe may have a gambling problem is not an easy thing. As Gambling Help Online details, there are a number of strategies to implement once you decide to raise the issue with your family member or friend.
While it is not an easy thing to do, by discussing your concerns, you will be helping your friend or family member to begin the process of facing up to their gambling and set them on a course to getting their gambling and life under control. Please also remember that support services are not only available for problem gamblers themselves, but are also available for concerned friends or family members. So make use of them.
Problem Gambling Support Services
There are a number of support services available for problem gamblers right across Australia. These include but are not limited to:
Phone Support Services and Counselling
24 hour, 7 days a week counselling is available Australia wide by calling 1800 858 858. Please note that phone support is available for both problem gamblers and their families.
If you are under 18 years of age, a youth dedicated counselling service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1800 262 376.
Internet Support Services and Counselling
Gambling Help Online provides live chat and email support from qualified and experienced counsellors. As with phone support services detailed above, online counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are available to be problem gamblers and their families.
Financial Counselling Services
If you require assistance dealing with financial issues arising from your gambling, there is help available by calling 1800 007 007. Financial counsellors are available to assist you from 9:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
Regional and Cultural Assistance
If you are looking for help in your area or assistance available within your community, please refer to this list of regional support services compiled by the Australian Gaming Council.
Responsible Gambling Measures
Bookmakers provide their customers with the ability to exclude themselves from the bookmaker's site and betting services for a given period of time. Typically once an exclusion period is in place, the customer cannot access their account until the exclusion period has concluded. We strongly encourage all users to become familiar with the self exclusion feature available at any bookmaker they may be considering signing up with.
Bookmakers also provide their customers with the ability to set pre-determined limits on their deposits. As with self exclusion, once a customer has set a pre-commitment level, any increases cannot be changed for a given number of days whereas decreases in pre-committed deposit limits are typically in effect immediately. We again strongly encourage all users to become familiar with the pre-commitment feature available at any bookmaker they may be considering signing up with.
The 'Stay On Track' App
Available for both iPhone and Android, the Stay On Track app allows you to keep a record of your betting as well as setting a budget. It's a great app and we whole heartedly recommend all punters to download it, even if you believe you are not a problem gambler.
Download the 'Stay On Track' App
How To Avoid 'Bet Regret'
There are simple measures you can take if you feel your gambling may be starting to get the best of you. These have been summed up in the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation's 'Bet Regret' campaign. Here's a few ideas to help you avoid it.
Firstly, try to gamble less than once a week and while doing so, set limits on the amount of time and money you will spend gambling. Another good idea is to leave your bank cards at home and don't take them to the venue. It's also wise to avoid drinking or taking drugs when gambling, as indulging in either or both can often lead to excessive gambling.
Most of all, gamble for fun and not because you need the money. If you are having money issues it's best to contact a financial counsellor, which you can by calling 1800 007 007, rather than hoping for a big win to cover all your debts and outstanding bills.
And if you're wondering just how much your excessive gambling is costing you in real terms, use the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation's Regret-O-Meter.
An Informed Gambler Is A Responsible Gambler
As the Australian Gaming Council suggests in their Responsible Gaming Strategy:
“The AGC and its members commit to providing appropriate information to individuals, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds so they are able to make informed decisions and exercise choice regarding their gambling participation and expenditure, consistent with their personal preferences and individual circumstances.”
We believe that key to responsible gambling is understanding how sports betting works. We have a number of resources available to help our community members understand just how the betting industry operates. These include but are not limited to:
What is the bookmaker's “margin”?
What do odds actually represent?
The psychological affect of the 'near miss'
How to avoid emotional betting
Why do bookmakers limit accounts?
Educational Resources For Young People
Similarly, we believe that educating young people is key in diminishing the risk of them becoming problem gamblers later in life. There are a number of resources available for schools and youth counsellors to assist them in educating young people in responsible gambling. These include:
Guide to Problem Gambling: Children and Young People
Gambling Calculating the Risk
Responsible Gambling NSW
Gambling is No Game
Gambling Education Kit
Responsible Gambling for young users
Principles of Responsible Gambling
As the Australian Gaming Council suggests in their Responsible Gaming Strategy:
"Customers should not be encouraged to:
- re-stake their winnings – it should be their own decision;
- increase the amount they have decided to commit to gambling activity;
- chase their losses;
- continue playing when they have indicated they wish to stop; or
- enter into continuous play for an excessive period of time."
We agree with each of these principles and will never encourage our community members and users to engage in such behaviours.
Share Your Story With Us
If you have overcome or are in the process of overcoming issues related to problem gambling, share your story with us. We'd love to hear it. We spoke with “Greg” about his own journey from problem gambler to recovery back in 2013. You can read it here.
We also spoke with Danish television personality Claus Elgaard about his battle with gambling addiction.
Gambling Help Online has recently begun a campaign encouraging Australians to share their own stories.
If you're looking for further inspiration, Gambling Help NSW also has a great series of personal stories available.
We believe it's important for those who have struggled with their own gambling or have been affected by the gambling of family or friends to speak up and help us to make the gaming industry within Australia more transparent and proactive in their dealings with both current and potential customers.
Problem Gambling Resources
There are a number of websites dedicated to the issue of problem gambling.
Gambling Help Online
Information site provided in agreement with all state and territory governments within Australia.
Visit Gambling Help Online.
Know Your Odds
Gambling support program provided by the Department of Human Services.
Visit Know Your Odds
Problem Gambling Australia
Information site provided by the Australian Government.
Visit Problem Gambling Australia
Information site provided by Gambling Help Online
Visit Gamble Aware
Responsible Gambling Victoria
Information site provided by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
Visit Responsible Gambling Victoria
Gambling Help NSW
Information site provided by the New South Wales government.
Visit Gambling Help NSW
Problem Gambling SA
Information site provided by the South Australian government.
Visit Problem Gambling SA
Problem Gambling ACT
Information site provided by the Australian Capital Territory government.
Visit Problem Gambling ACT
Responsible Gambling Awareness Week
Information site provided by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation detailing RGAW.
Learn about Responsible Gambling Awareness Week
Information site provided by Amity Community Services
Visit Amity Community Services
Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct
State by state guide to codes of conduct provided by the Australasian Gaming Council.
Read about the Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct